JEFFERSON — A compact defense more than held its own for the Jefferson boys soccer team on Wednesday as it earned a shutout in a Rock Valley Conference victory over Whitewater.
The Eagles allowed just seven shots on goal in a 3-0 triumph.
“They’ve been playing good. A few games we gave up a few (goals),” Jefferson head coach Sam El-Beri said of his defense. “We tweaked it a little bit, and now we’re getting better at it. That’s a good time to get better at it.”
Isaac Lopez scored his first career varsity goal in the 36th minute on an assist from Eddie Serrano, and with the Whippets struggling to create scoring chances, head coach John Chenoweth put a second forward at the top of the formation.
Even though it helped try to spread out the Jefferson defense in an attempt to tie the game, the Whippets could not come up with enough quality chances.
“Putting two guys out there to try to spread them out a little bit, and we kind of did get some opportunities with it, but not a lot of shots on goal,” Chenoweth said.
Jefferson (7-2-3 overall, 4-2 RVC) secured a third-place finish in the conference standings, and with a win on Monday against East Troy/Palmyra-Eagle, the Eagles could finish second in the RVC for the best finish in program history.
“This was a huge win for us,” El-Beri said.
The Eagles opened up the second half, starting on a corner kick in the 65th minute. Misael Cortes curled a kick into the box, and sophomore forward Aaron Heine got his foot on the ball to redirect it past Whitewater goalkeeper Slate Spear.
Heine had multiple other chances to break the game open, especially in the first half.
“He should have had four at least by himself. He’s got a lot of talent,” El-Beri said of Heine. “He’s just young yet. He’s got speed and he’s strong. He’s got a good left and right foot. He’s just got to work on his touches and movement a little bit, and he’ll be just fine.”
With Whitewater pushing forward late in the game, Serrano chased down a pass from Jonathan Colorado. Near the left corner of the 18-yard box, Serrano ripped a shot with his left foot to the far post for the 3-0 lead in the 85th minute.
The goals did nothing to prevent Chenoweth from praising the play of his goalkeeper on the night. Spear finished with 12 saves.
“On the last one, it’s hard to tell if he’s positioned well or not, but his others, they are ones that I don’t know if any other keeper is going to stop,” Chenoweth said. “He stopped one down here that was pretty impressive. It’s hard to say he did a good job when we lose 3-0. But I thought he did good.”
Jefferson goalkeeper Hayden Radloff stopped seven shots from the Whippets to secure the shutout.
Jefferson hosts Audobon, of Milwaukee, on Thursday at home at 5 p.m. Whitewater will play its next game at home Thursday against Madison Edgewood for a 6:45 p.m. start.
JEFFERSON 3, WHITEWATER 0
Whippets 0 0 — 0
Eagles 1 2 — 3
First-half scoring — J, Lopez (Serrano), 36’.
Second-half scoring — J, Heine (Cortes), 65’; J, Serrano (Colorado), 85’.
Saves — W, Spear 12; J, Radloff 7.